The Golem of Brooklyn: A Novel
The dazzlingly imaginative, ferociously funny story of an art teacher, a bodega clerk, and a five-thousand-year-old clay crisis monster, from the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the F**k to Sleep.
“A devastating romp through history, a bonkers road trip through America, this novel could not be any funnier—or any more important.”—W. Kamau Bell
In Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanoid being created out of mud or clay and animated through secret prayers. Its sole purpose is to defend the Jewish people against the immediate threat of violence. It is always a rabbi who makes a golem, and always in a time of crisis.
But Len Bronstein is no rabbi—he’s a Brooklyn art teacher who steals a large quantity of clay from his school, gets extremely stoned, and manages to bring his creation to life despite knowing little about Judaism and even less about golems. Unable to communicate with his nine-foot-six, four hundred-pound, Yiddish-speaking guest, Len enlists a bodega clerk and ex-Hasid named Miri Apfelbaum to translate.
Eventually, The Golem learns English by binge-watching Curb Your Enthusiasm after ingesting a massive amount of LSD and reveals that he is a creature with an ancestral memory; he recalls every previous iteration of himself, making The Golem a repository of Jewish history and trauma. He demands to know what crisis has prompted his re-creation and whom must he destroy. When Miri shows him a video of white nationalists marching and chanting “Jews will not replace us,” the answer becomes clear.
The Golem of Brooklyn is an epic romp through Jewish history and the American present that wrestles with the deepest questions of our humanity—the conflicts between faith and skepticism, tribalism and interdependence, and vengeance and healing.
Praise for The Golem of Brooklyn: A Novel
“Adam Mansbach’s latest did not put me the F**k to Sleep. Quite the opposite, this is the update to the Golem legend I’ve been dreaming of since I survived Jewish Day School. Run don’t schlepp to the nearest bookstore and get ready to split your kishkes laughing.”—Gary Shteyngart
“Jewish humor goes back a long way. And to a pantheon that includes Brooks, Bruce, Seinfeld, and David, add Mansbach at its virtual apex, with acerbic wit and an absurd premise: a supernatural avenger, a folklore savior of persecuted Jews, let loose in Trump’s America. Such satisfying calamity, this crisp book is easily the funniest novel I’ve ever read, and yet achieves an uncanny profundity. Mansbach’s voice is absolutely singular.”—Dan Charnas, New York Times bestselling author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, The Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm
“Fast-paced and full of memorable characters, Adam Mansbach’s The Golem of Brooklyn is both a searing and hilarious tale of how far we're willing to go to protect ourselves and our community, and who we become when we do so. Mansbach’s ability to infuse wisdom, political insight, history and humor is commendable, and makes this book a page-turner.”—Fatimah Asghar, Carol Shields Prize-winning author of When We Were Sisters
“This novel could not be any funnier—or any more important. A devastating romp through history, a bonkers road trip through America, and a searing examination of the question that will determine our future: how do we confront those who hate us, and at what cost?”—W. Kamau Bell